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Heart Transplant Comes in the Nick of Time

Masin was just 14 years old when he suffered a heart attack at his Post Falls, ID middle school. Diagnosed in Spokane, WA with cardiomyopathy, he received a heart transplant from Dr. Timothy Icenogle at Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children's Hospital.

Masin Hawkins was an active 14-year-old who loved basketball and riding bikes. One day, he’d been playing football with friends at Post Falls Middle School, and when he went inside, he told a teacher that he felt dizzy. It’s the last thing he remembers before a school nurse performed CPR to restart his heart and an ambulance whisked him away.

Later at Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children’s Hospital, pediatric cardiologist Carl Garabedian, MD, diagnosed him with cardiomyopathy—a condition that causes the heart to enlarge and prevents it from pumping well. Masin also started having ventricular tachycardia—a super-fast heartbeat—and had to have an implantable cardiac defibrillator to regulate the heartbeat.

In September 2011, Masin’s mom became concerned with his decreasing energy and scheduled another appointment at Sacred Heart. They were told what they didn’t want to hear—that Masin needed a heart transplant.

Masin’s heart function had decreased to just 15 percent of its normal capacity. He was placed onto the national transplant list.

Dr. Timothy Icenogle - Spokane, WA heart transplant surgeon.

Three months later, Sacred Heart transplant surgeon Timothy Icenogle, MD, was ready to fly to the location where a heart for Masin could be retrieved from a donor who was on life support. Unfortunately, Spokane was completely fogged in with no flights going in or out.

The surgery was called off again and everyone simply prayed for a miracle. That evening, Dr. Icenogle drove to Coeur d’Alene’s small municipal airport where the fog had lifted and planes were cleared for takeoff. At 9 p.m., Masin’s new heart was in place and working fine.